Turkiye: Ministry to set up hospital for rare diseases

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced plans to establish a new hospital in Istanbul that will focus on the treatment of rare diseases, particularly through the application of cell and gene therapies.

“We will have a facility on the same complex as the hospital that will manufacture the drugs required for these therapies. This way, we will be able to produce the drugs ourselves and carry out the treatment internally,” Koca stated during his address following a cabinet meeting on June 6.

In addition, the minister also emphasized the efforts of the scientific committee established within the ministry to address spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic neuromuscular disease characterized by muscle atrophy and weakness.

The committee has ensured the availability of drugs with proven benefits for SMA patients and will soon commence the implementation of gene therapy for suitable patient groups.

SMA typically emerges early in life and is a leading genetic cause of death among infants and toddlers. The disease is primarily caused by a deficiency of a protein called SMS, which affects the neural network connecting the brain and muscles.

Responding to inquiries regarding the establishment of healthy aging centers, a recent initiative announced by the ministry to provide specialized healthcare services for elderly citizens,Koca confirmed that regulations for the centers have been issued.

The plan involves the creation of a center for every 250 individuals, with a doctor, two nurses, and a medical secretary assigned to each facility. Initially, the project will be implemented for citizens aged 80 and above, gradually reducing the age threshold to 65 in subsequent phases, he elaborated.


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